Cultural Musings

Winter in Poland means…

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Floridian. In other words, I suck at winter. And every year I struggle to get through it. And every year when I’m on the other side – in Spring – I think “how the eff did I survive that?!” I’m continually collecting new ideas for how to overcome it. However, my dream is just to spend the winter in Florida. Oh, how lovely that would be. For now, I’m here in Poland… indefinitely. Here’s what winter in Poland means to me.

1. Scraping the fucking windows and changing your tires. WHY?!

2. Nearly falling on your face or busting ass in the slush on the sidewalk.

3. Seasonal depression. Let’s start a support group!

4. White Christmas – this doesn’t happen very often anymore but when it does it’s magic!

5. Mulled wine! – Need I say more?

6. Having literally no vegetables to choose from except root vegetables.

7. It’s 4 pm and you can see the moon…

8. MANDARYNKI! – Tangerines non nom.

9. Sleds (ssanki!) and snowmen – I’ve never actually ridden a sled (I know!) but now that I have a kid I’m going to try this year! I also have never made a snowman with my own two hands.

10. Snowboarding – or being forced to go snowboarding… kill me now.

11. Your car won’t start because it’s -20 degrees celsius.

12. Standing in the window to soak up the tiny ray of sunlight that has broken through the clouds.

13. If you live where I live… smog…

14. But also, using the fireplace (they’re not very common or useful in Florida)!

15. Being asked all the time where your czapka or socks are and those of your child as well. UGH.

16. Always gaining a few winter pounds because you lack the motivation to exercise or go outside for longer than 10 minutes, of course leading to slight cabin fever.

So what does winter in Poland mean to you? What does it remind you of or make you think of? Do you enjoy it or is it a challenge for you like me? If you’re new in Poland and need some advice, check out my post about how to survive the winter in Poland. Good luck and happy holidays! Zdrowych i Wesołych Świąt!


P.S. The picture is the view of my backyard! 🙂

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  • Reply Ilona 21 December 2018 at 19:40

    I’m Polish and every year I long for spring, I catch every ray of light and don’t feel like going outside or any doing any kind of exercise. Just want to hide in my bed and sleep over the whole winter?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 22 December 2018 at 12:17

      Yes I just want to live inside a blanket. Generally at home I just walk around in my robe all day 🙂

  • Reply Jake 21 December 2018 at 20:44


    I’ve recently come across your blog and love it. I’m a Polish-born Canadian who speaks conversational Polish and, while I’m not enamored with everything about life in Poland, neither am I overly attached to Canada. Your blog keeps tempting me to pay off my student loans and go teach in Poland, even as I’m rapidly approaching middle age.

    I adore your writing and views on the country. Even as a Canadian, I sympathize with your dislike of winter.

    That’s a beautiful back yard. Thanks again for this post, have a Merry Christmas.


    Rany boskie, zamknij okno bo bedzie przeciag i dostaniesz zapalenia pluc!

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 22 December 2018 at 12:17

      Hey Jake (or perhaps Jakub?)! Hahahaaa love your P.S. Przeciąg is the most dangerous thing in Poland, I’m quite certain!! You should definitely pay off those loans move here. I can help you! Just let me know when you’d like to come 🙂 Merry Christmas and happy new year!

    • Reply matt pomaski 6 November 2019 at 19:53

      “For God’s sake, close the window, you’ll get pneumonia from the draft!*”. EXACT Polish comment my mamusia would make when we lived in Buffalo, NY, which came just before the command to “put on your galoshes (kalosze)”. Thanks for that memory moment Jake!
      And Leah, having done graphic design for years in LA, I’m very impressed with your “Polonization” loose-brush logotype and the other graphics on your posts; are you or someone you know a graphic artist? Good looking WordPress theme, too.

      *(Rany boskie=divine wounds, the literal meaning shown in Google Translate)

      • Reply Leah Morawiec 20 November 2019 at 14:12

        Hey Matt – yeah we have a graphic designer who does our stuff 🙂 He’s really good, but very busy. Hah seriously the draft thing… drives me crazy! No one will even crack a window when there’s a baby around! I can’t stand it. It’s probably not healthy to get all overheated and then go outside either.

  • Reply GoHa Samo H 22 December 2018 at 15:52

    My mom remembers winter’s with moulds of snow so high you couldn’t just drive through even sitting in a truck, with heavy temperature drops etc. I’ m now 30, and I remember from my childhood snowy winters with occasional -30*C in January (this temperature drop was an “annual event” up to a few years ago). I even remember clearing trees from snow at the end of September once. -5/-10 with sporadic -15/-20 drops was a normal thing. From my “studies” time (aka colleague) I remember driving home for Christmas in trains when there was drops to -20*C which temperature usually disabled doors (“a quest to find working doors a few minutes before leaving on the right station? Challenge accepted!”) stuffed with snow from… inside.

    Now I live in Warsaw where the only annual event is smog, and the temperatures are always a few grades higher than in the rest of the voivideship, and where little black jackdaws, rooks and even bigger gray jackdaws (which I never seen before moving here) live all the round year instead of visiting the city only in winter… Winters for me now are just muddy and there’s nothing magically in that… 🙁

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 4 February 2019 at 14:36

      Yeah it’s kinda the same here now… winter isn’t very pleasant these days but actually we’ve had quite a lot of snow this year. And smog probably worse than in Warsaw… it’s a disaster. Thank god there haven’t been any -15/-20 days yet though!

  • Reply Don Ricardo 23 December 2018 at 03:55

    GLOOM..That’s a main reason for Yule (Jul) and associated celebrations/tradicja of the Northern and Central Europeans at this time of year! The Return of Light and Cheer, we hope 😀

  • Reply Ron Ti 23 December 2018 at 22:00

    The winter in Poland is wonderful, absolutely wonderful
    Nothing is good or bad it all depends on your perspective and experience
    But a bit of background
    Spent virtually my whole life in Queensland , Australia. Its like Canada only at the other end of the thermometer
    No seasons:only a wet monsoon season and a dry season, bloody horrible
    Laundry never dries-it just gets mouldy, bloody horrible
    You shower 3-4 times a day and sweat the instant you get out of the shower, bloody unpleasant
    Cockroaches and creepy crawlies with wings overwhelm you all year round-bloody horrible
    Drop a crumb on the ground and thousands of ants appear in seconds-bloody horrible
    Keep on stepping on snakes in the Australian bush-but Poland=NO SNAKES and NO CROCODILES, bloody unpleasant
    You can drive AT NIGHT in Poland and NOT risk running into a 35 kg kangaroo , thus wiping out the roo AND potentially you, not to mention f**king up the front end of your car, bloody horrible
    Heat and humidity mean you cannot really go outside and not cook, bloody bloody unpleasant

    I’ll take Poland hands down-stuff tropical Australia, hate the place!

    Ok maybe I will long for the tropics again, but for now…

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 4 February 2019 at 14:33

      Hah! This is pretty amazing. Hitting a kangaroo?!?! I guess in Poland you could hit a deer pretty easily though. Yeah I used to live in Florida so I get the effing hot, sweaty, horrible humidity thing. It’s brutal sometimes but I guess Australia is probably twice as bad. We also didn’t spend much time outside in the summer or anything and in Poland you’re outside like 24/7 in the summer. It’s incredible! But in the winter I’m dead.

  • Reply Marina 26 December 2018 at 21:48

    My winter in Bellingham, WA is not as cold, but we live in a drafty old house so I am constantly wearing slippers and fleece jackets. On those really cold nights, I wear the fleece jacket to bed! I hope you survive the winter okay this year. 🙂

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 4 February 2019 at 14:30

      A jacket to bed?! It must be freezing there. Polar vortex? 🙂

  • Reply Marcin Zawadzki 2 January 2019 at 13:43

    Your garden looks nice – just like our. Come to see Podkarpackie, as they say: “leave everything and go to Bieszczady”. ?

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 4 February 2019 at 14:30

      I want so badly to go to Bieszczady! It’s on the list for this year 🙂 Isn’t it “Screw everything and go to Bieszczady?” 🙂

  • Reply Tania 6 January 2019 at 13:20

    Hello Leah. Thank for such a creative and fun blog. I am Mozambican/South African in Poland – only been here for 2 years (I miss the sun, all year long beach days and all it’s goodness) and I can relate to a lot of your posts. Have an awesome 2019 and keep the great posts up :-)…

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 4 February 2019 at 14:29

      Ugh! Poor you. So we’re in the same boat 🙂 It’s brutal sometimes, isn’t it? This winter especially has been particularly dark I think, hasn’t it?

  • Reply Michael 22 January 2019 at 03:29

    Thanks we’re in New Jersey and my wife (Polish) is quite worried I’ll have no friends if we move from New Jersey to Poland with our two boys. I’d like to buy a place their and from what I gather we’d have to hire someone to complete the inside but we’re up for the challenge. Happy New Year and thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Leah Morawiec 4 February 2019 at 14:29

      Well… honestly it takes time. I think if you live in a place with lots of other foreigners, it shouldn’t be as of a problem as it is for me. There aren’t as many foreigners here and I prefer to speak English with my friends than Polish. However, nowadays it seems I speak Polish more often…

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